LATIN NAME: Orlaya grandiflora
COMMON NAME: White lace flower
AVAILABILITY: June to September
COLOUR RANGE: Pure white only
BEST BUYING DAYS AT New Covent Garden Flower Market: Monday and Thursday
TRADERS: Zest Flowers
The Origins of Orlaya Grandiflora
Orlaya grandiflora is part of the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family a.k.a. the carrot, celery or parsley family. It’s a vast grouping of 3,700 species and the defining family characteristic is their umbrella-like flowers: individual flower stalks that spread out from a common point like an umbrella that’s been blown inside out by a particularly strong wind.
Orlaya grandiflora is native to Europe and is the more glamorous cousin of Ammi majus, the frothy flower beloved of florists. Seed supplier extraordinaire, Benjamin Ranyard of Higgledy Garden, poetically describes Orlaya grandiflora as ammi’s “mysterious, sophisticated and saucy cousin… the kind of girl a chap would like to meet out on the balcony during a ball at a Russian palace.”
It is one of those flowers that always has visitors to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show reaching for a notepad and pen to scribble down its romantic name: Orlaya grandiflora. Delicate, lacy flowerheads of the purest white are held on slender stems above fine, divided foliage.
Orlaya Grandiflora as a Cut Flower
Despite its dreamy, delicate appearance, orlaya grandiflora is surprisingly robust. It makes an excellent cut flower and lasts for 7-10 days in the vase. Primarily grown by local flower farmers and not currently grown on the scale of ammi, this is the one flower that definitively sets the independent florist apart from the multiples.
Orlaya grandiflora exudes romance and charm and lends itself beautifully to the current trend for a softer, wilder, more natural style of design. It complements other flowers in an arrangement or bouquet making it supremely versatile as a cut flower. It has a stem length of around 60-70 cm and is available from Zest Flowers at the Flower Market and from selected flower farmers across the country during the flower season of June to September.
Buying British Orlaya Grandiflora
Weather permitting, Orlaya grandiflora is available from June to September. When you’re buying, you’re looking for clean stems that support the flowerheads well and for fresh green foliage. The flowers will generally be open when you buy so check that the individual stems are intact.
Orlaya Grandiflora Care
Since this flower is more resilient than its outward delicate elegance would suggest, their care is pretty standard to ensure your British flowers perform and last as well as possible:
- Ensure that your vase is scrupulously clean so that there are no bacteria lurking around
- Remove any leaves that would be below the water line to stop any rot
- Trim the flower stems to the preferred length
- Arrange the stems in your clean vase filled with fresh water mixed with the flower food provided
- Keep your flowers out of direct sunlight, away from radiators, drafts and even from your fruit bowl (ethylene shortens vase life)
- Trim the stems and top up the vase every day
Where to Buy
The peak season for British Orlaya grandiflora is June to September, weather permitting. This elegant flower is still a comparative rarity though in the world of cut flowers, so snap it up whenever you see it.
During this period, the main deliveries come fresh into the Flower Market from the growers for Monday and Thursday morning trading.
Key wholesaler of British Orlaya grandiflora is:
If you have any top tips on designing with British Orlaya grandiflora, we would love to hear from you. Simply write your comments in the box below.
Read a profile for British Flowers Week of Florence Kennedy of Petalon here.
See the designs Florence created using British Orlaya grandiflora, here.